Author Archives: felixt

Church Camp 2018

FOCUS church camp’s topic this year is “Worship that satisfies”. This year I came with both Jet and Matt.

When I heard about the topic – worship that satisfies – at first, I thought about what sort of worship that can satisfy my spiritual needs. It’s almost automatic that my mind thought of Hillsong songs and its worship atmosphere. But then Josh (our pastor) flipped the question around, what kind of worship that satisfies God? That question would be answered on the 2nd day of the camp.

On the first day (it was a four days camp) we looked at:

  • Wrong object of worship, for example: Elijah vs the prophets of Baal.
  • Wrong way of doing of worship, for example: Israelites and the Golden Calf. In this case the Israelites got the God right, but due to their sinfulness they created a thing to represent the Creator. The mistake had deadly consequences.

On the 2nd day of the camp, I missed the 2nd talk which answers the question what worship that satisfies God. Some of the campers shared the session with me though – in a nutshell, Jesus is the answer – it’s cliche I know, but to be expected :) Who else can satisfy God beside His own Son.

The highlight of the camp for me was hearing the 3 couples who are planning to go back to Indonesia and serve there. Going back to Indo has been proven to be quite a daunting prospect for many of us. There has been concerning stories from those who have gone back to Jakarta particularly, some of them has been struggling with: the cost of living, traffic jam, hard to be involved in ministry etc.

These things have been on the forefront of this group’s prayers and by God’s grace, God has opened up an opportunity which addresses some of the concerns above.

I must admit this sounds like an exciting opportunity. This certainly has put some seed in my mind and Lina’s. For me personally, it is somewhat a test for me whether or not I truly believe my status as a sojourner in this life. It is super early, it’s definitely something that I should continually be praying for.

Reflection on 1 Peter 2:11-12

Last Sunday, 1 Peter 2:1-12 was being preached at church. I found the 1 Peter 2:11-12 stands out to me and even more as I re-read it this morning.

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

It’s about Christians being exiles, sojourners in the world – not sure why but it seems God keeps remind me about that fact.

Being a Christian in Australia especially in the last few months you do feel like you are an outsider. With issues like SSM and euthanasia – Christians are at odds with the masses and indeed have been portrayed as evildoers like Peter said. But shall we expect anything less? No, we shouldn’t – the pastor said on Sunday, we are not Australians, we are not Indonesians, we exiles even in our countries.

Keeping our conduct honorable is a good point to remember too. Last night, my wife told me an encounter with a parent at school whom want her child to be enrolled in Scripture class. She herself is not a Christian strangely enough. But she said her child’s teacher who is a Christian left such a good impression to her as such she wants her child to have exposure to Christian teachings.

The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness – book review

I am almost half way through reading Tim Chester’s book called
The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness (affiliate link btw). Apparently you can read the first 50 pages online on Google books

As someone who likes to be busy and love his work (and dare I say driven?) – this book has been a timely reminder personally. How much do I love my work? Well, I am currently on holiday and I am using it to plan for my career (had finished some coding tests and learning for my certification. So I am glad to pick up this book for my trip, I have bought it few years ago, but never got around to finish it.

What is this book about? From The Goodbook UK:

While offering practical help to busy Christians, Tim Chester also opts for root-and-branch treatment: it’s not enough to slow down, or to simplify your lifestyle, you need to deal radically with the things what are driving you.

If you’re busy because of the following:

  • ‘I need to prove myself’
  • ‘Otherwise things get out of control’
  • ‘I need the money’

Think again! At the root of our ‘slavery’ are serious misunderstandings, often reinforced by our culture. If we want to be free, then we need to counteract them with God’s word. It’s important to manage our time, but it’s more important to manage our hearts.

God has promised his rest to all who are weary and burdened (Matthew 11:28). It’s up to us to accept it.

The book is easy to read, but the points Tim makes are loaded with biblical truths and to be honest they are personally confronting to me, I definitely felt rebuked as I read through the pages.

Reading the book has helped me refocus ‘why’. As a side note, I was introduced to Simon Sinek’s Start With Why – which highlights the importance of knowing your personal why. As a Christian though, my why comes from my creator, as Tim alluded in the book, for a Christian the ultimate why (including the reason for work) is to have God say in the end “well done, good and faithful servant”.

The ultimate why for a Christian is to have God say in the end – well done, good and faithful servant.

In the early part of the book, Tim gave practical tips to avoid being too busy – I guess that’s the how bit, but on the subsequent chapters he deals with more important question – why are we (Christians) so busy? A question that he asked is, is it possible that we do more than God wants us to?

It’s important to manage our time, but it’s more important to manage our hearts.

I am looking forward on finishing the book and perhaps re-read it every year or two, I think this is one of the books that worth regular re-read.

Some interesting points that I picked up:

  • People are getting busier at work, our secular age gives a material answer to spiritual problems (I forgot why Tim identifies busy as a spiritual problem). For example: going to the gym to relax. But in the end you must work harder to afford this leisure (gym membership).
  • Access to data doesn’t make you wise, wisdom takes study and reflection. Study and reflection needs time.
  • People used to work to maintain a standard of living, but today we work to attain higher standard of living.
  • Greeks and Romans aspires a life of leisure, free from work. Work is seen as necessary evil. I guess that thinking permeates to today too, for example: people work so that they afford overseas travelling.
  • Our culture assumes that holidays are the answer to busyness. But holidays are a modern invention. 48 weeks work, 4 weeks holidays, 40 years work and then retirement, this cadence is human invention. The bible for example, does not recognise the idea of retirement. This is challenging for me, having been involved with an investment community, the majority of the group is driven by the goal of retiring early or at least retire comfortably. While it is certainly nice to have that option, God does not ask me to retire early – it’s not what important to him and I better not make it as a goal in life either.
  • Value people over schedule. I am guilty of this – I like my days planned (and packed), but if I do that I will not have time for people. My God is a god that values relation – so I need to reflect that in my life too.
  • The goal of Christian living is not to achieve work life balance – but to use both work and life to God’s glory.
  • Christians should not compartmentalise work, life, leisure, ministry, family time – all of them should be ministry.
  • What you do matters, not how much – so sort out your priorities.
  • How you do it your work matters, not how much – so glorify God in all that you do.
  • Why you do your work matters, not how much – so identify your desires.

Church Camp 2017

Just came back from FOCUS church camp 2017 – this year topic was “Living Success – God’s Wisdom for Life”.

It’s interesting that God’s words keep on speaking to me even though I have been through camps / sermons / bible studies on Proverbs (the main book we’re studying for this camp) several time. In fact, I was a bit reluctant to go thinking that I know this stuff already – which is a very arrogant statement, as a Christian you could never be hearing His word enough.

My main take from this camp is – the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom, wise sayings, observations are not exclusive to the bible – other religions or even the non religious have theirs too and many are the same as Christians wisdom. However there is one big different – Christian wisdom is rooted on the fear of the LORD.

Having all the wisdom but not knowing the LORD is the same as not having wisdom at all. It can even be said the wisest thing someone can do is trust Jesus – God’s wisdom.

I don’t know how many FOCUS church camps left for me and my family, so I am trying to treasure this as much as possible. I throughly enjoyed talking to and getting to know the next generation in our Indo church – thing that I found difficult to do in the weekly church. I am thankful to be part of a faithful church.

Last day of 2016 in Ambon

Last day of 2016 will be a memorable one for me and for our family. At that time, we were in Ambon holidaying with Lina’s family, as usual we live at my in-laws house, it is a huge three levels house (bare with me this is an important details).

It is a custom with Christians in Ambon (Lina’s family included) to go church on the last day of the year for kebaktian tutup tahun. As family we were going to the 5pm service in 2 groups / cars.

As the 1st car was about to leave, they found that the road outside the house was blocked by government’s/military cars. There was a little bit of commotion as we were trying to get them to move their cars so we can get ours on the street.

Pa was upstairs at this stage as he would go later with the 2nd group, but he noticed the problem downstairs and he went down to help out (as he always does). At that time I was downstairs helping with opening the gate – since I have done my part, I was heading back up to prepare myself.

Me and pa passed each other on the steps – shortly after that I heard a noise and when I turned my head, to my horror I saw Pa fell down the steps, it happened so quickly I was shocked and couldn’t do anything to prevent it. Pa was lying down at the bottom of the stairs not moving, people downstairs were rushing to him as they heard the thud. Pa was bleeding from the cut on his head. He bled quite a lot.

Sui, San and some other people then took him to hospital after that (thank God that Sui can drive and the generous cousin that lend us her car). Thank God again that apart from the cut and some bruises, there were no major health issues.

The aftermath

After it happened, I apologised to Pa, I should’ve been more thoughtful when passing him on the steps – I should’ve let him hold on the rails or I should’ve stopped and let him pass first.

He quickly dismissed my apology, he said it was no one fault, he also didn’t see the accident as something “bad”. He said nothing happens that God doesn’t allow to happen, we may not know what God has in store from this accident, but it’s for our goodness.

To be honest, at that time I can’t see the good that comes from this accident. But maybe he’s right – at the very least God shows me how a Christian should handle a misfortune or suffering – he should handle it fully trusting in God’s goodness not by complaining or anger.

I am always amazed at my parents in laws for their simple yet deep and strong faith in God – they’ve experienced so much sufferings in their life and yet I never once I detect any resentment from them.

I thank God that we still have them around so me and my family so we can learn from their faith.